Nancy Pitman, aka Brenda McCann, a former member of the Manson Family, first met Charles Manson and his family through her friend Deirdre Lansbury, the daughter of actress Angela Lansbury.
Pitman was born in Springfield, Illinois on January 1, 1951. Her father worked in the aerospace industry as an engineer. She grew up in Malibu, along with her two younger brothers, and she hung out with the rich and famous. Pitman enjoyed surfing, and while at the beach, she met some hippie girls who introduced her to marijuana.
She started experimenting with different kind of drugs, and, like so many teenagers, she started to become rebellious. Her relationship with her parents came under pressure, and her parents kicked her out of the house. She was looking for a new home when her friend Deirdre Lansbury introduced her to Charles Manson. Manson, always looking for new members for his family, was happy to take on Nancy.
On the night of the Tate murders, Pitman was with Manson when he ordered Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to go to Tate’s house. There are persistent rumors that Nancy and Manson went back to the murder scene at Sharon Tate’s house and tampered with evidence and moved the bodies of the deceased.
This corresponds with the police report; “It appeared to investigating officers that someone had handled the victim, as in moving her from one location to another, and the blood from the stab wounds had been smeared over other parts of the body.” Manson corroborated the story in his book ‘Manson In His Own Words’, in which he says he went to the crime scene with a ‘buddy’.
Pitman was arrested during the August 16, 1969, Spahn Ranch raid, and during the October 10, 1969, Barker Ranch raid. During the police interrogation, she remained loyal to Manson and the family and told them nothing that could incriminate Manson, and she told the police she had no knowledge of the Tate/LaBianca murders.
After her release from jail, she briefly returned to her mother, but returned to the Manson family during the Tate/LaBianca trial. In 1971 she was arrested again, this time for for aiding in the escape of Kenneth Como, a friend of the Manson family, but the charges were eventually dropped.
District attorney Vincent Bugliosi described Nancy Pitman as a tough, vicious little girl, filled with hostility that was just waiting to erupt. But according to a visitor to this website who knew Nancy from high school, Nancy wasn’t vicious at all; “She was NOT vicious. She was a sweet little girl, and I adored her.”
After the Tate/LaBianca trial, Nancy Pitman, Priscilla Cooper and a couple of criminals named Michael Monfort and James Craig moved in together in a cabin in Guerneville. James and Lauren Willett, who were friends of the Manson family, decided to move in with Pitman and her friends. They took their infant daughter, Heidi, with them.
In 1972, the decapitated body of James Willett was found in a shallow grave with his hand sticking out of the ground. Later, the body of his wife Lauren was discovered buried in the crawl space of a house in Stockton. She had been shot in the head.
Montfort and Craig killed James Willett because they were afraid he would go to the police and give them information about armed robberies that Montfort and Craig had committed. Montfort told the police that he accidentally shot Lauren Willett in the head while playing Russian roulette.
Nancy Pitman, Michael Monfort, James Craig, Priscilla Cooper and Lynnette Fromme were arrested for the murders.
Michael Monfort pled guilty to both murders and Nancy Pitman pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Lauren Willett. Nancy Pitman received a 5-year jail sentence of which she served 18 months. While incarcerated, Nancy married Monfort. Baby Heidi was not harmed and ended up with her grandmother [newspaper article]. Nancy divorced Montford in 1990, remarried and now lives somewhere in Oregon. Read more at charlesmanson.com.